I saw Roger Stone as 'access point' to WikiLeaks in 2016, Bannon tells court

The Guardian 1 week ago

Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, believed that political operative Roger Stone was the “access point” to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election, he told a federal court in Washington on Friday.

The ex-chief executive of Donald Trump’s campaign testified for less than an hour at the trial of Stone, accused of witness tampering and lying to Congress about his dealings with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website.

Bannon, 65, denied that the campaign had direct contact with WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, who released emails obtained by Russian hackers that were damaging to Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. Instead, he said, he came to understand that Stone, a self-described dirty trickster, was the key intermediary.

“I was led to believe he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange,” said Bannon, sitting in the witness box in black jacket, two black shirts and grey trousers. “He had a relationship, or told me he had a relationship with WikiLeaks. It was something I think he would frequently mention or talk about, when we talked about other things.”

The former head of conservative website Breitbart News continued: “The campaign had no official access to WikiLeaks or to Julian Assange. But Roger would be considered if we needed an access point.”

But although Stone repeatedly “implied that he had a connection with WikiLeaks,” he never stated it directly, Bannon added.

The US district court for the District of Columbia has been told of phone calls between Trump – who lavished praise on WikiLeaks during the campaign – and Stone, and been shown emails and text messages between Stone, Bannon and other campaign associates.

Bannon testified that he and Stone spoke somewhere between six and 12 times during the presidential campaign. In an email in the summer of 2016, Stone emailed Bannon to say: “Trump can still win, but time is running out. I know how to win, but it ain’t pretty.”

In court, Bannon was asked what he thought the message meant. He said: “Roger is an expert in the tougher side of politics. When you’re this far behind you’re going to have to use every tool in the tool box. Opposition research, dirty tricks, the kind of things campaigns use when you need to make up some ground.”

Bannon was a reluctant witness at Stone’s trial, under subpoena. He said he had been also interviewed several times by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

As he left the court building and climbed into a black SUV, Bannon told reporters: “I was compelled to testify. I was under subpoena by Mueller. I was under subpoena by the House. I got a handwritten subpoena in my House testimony, I was forced to go to the grand jury and I’m forced and compelled to come here today.”

Earlier on Friday, comedian and radio talk show Randy Credico told the court Stone pressured him into supporting lies he spun to Congress, even threatening his pet dog, Bianca, which he has owned for 12 years.

Credico read out to the court an email he received from Stone in April last year. Describing Credico as a “stoolie” and a “rat”, it warned: “My lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds. I’m going to take that dog away from you.”

Stone pressed him to “go along” with a false account of the operative’s contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign, Credico alleged. “He wanted me to go along with this narrative.”

Credico also told the jury that Stone was fond of alluding to the film The Godfather Part II to intimidate him. Judge Amy Berman Jackson warned the jury against doing their own research on the case, “not even downloading The Godfather on Netflix”.

Stone, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, witness tampering and lying to the congressional committee. The case adjourned until next week.


Source link
Read also:
New York Post › Politics › 1 week ago
Steve Bannon, former chief executive of President Trump’s first campaign, told jurors Friday he saw Roger Stone as “an access point” to WikiLeaks, which later released hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Bannon...
CNN › Politics › 1 week ago
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in court on Friday that he and the Trump campaign viewed Roger Stone, a longtime Donald Trump associate, as an access point to WikiLeaks, the organization that leaked stolen emails that were...
Raw Story › 1 week ago
Steve Bannon, the controversial former adviser to Donald Trump and chief executive of his presidential campaign, told jurors this Friday that Roger Stone was “an access point” to WikiLeaks, the document-dumping website that released hacked emails...
Washington Examiner › 1 week ago
The Trump campaign viewed Republican dirty trickster Roger Stone as their “access point” to WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange in their hunt for information to hurt Hillary Clinton, Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon testified Friday.
The Wall Street Journal › Politics › 1 week ago
Former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon told jurors he considered Roger Stone to be the campaign’s primary conduit for information about WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Daily Beast › 1 week ago
Alex Wong/GettySteven Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist turned political exile, took the stand Friday against his former friend Roger Stone, saying he once viewed him as an access point to WikiLeaks. Dressed in several shirts and a...
HuffPost › Politics › 1 week ago
Former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon testified that Roger Stone was the "access point" to WikiLeaks and information about Democrats' hacked emails.
Politico › Politics › 1 week ago
At Stone's trial for lying to Congress, Bannon was careful to note that the Trump campaign never asked Stone to contact WikiLeaks.
The Inquisitr › 1 week ago
In the clearest link yet between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian 2016 election interference operation, former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon gave sworn testimony that Trump advisor and longtime friend Roger Stone was the campaign’s...
The Hill › 1 week ago
Stephen Bannon, President Trump's former White House adviser and campaign CEO, testified in court on Friday that the campaign saw Roger Stone as a potential intermediary with WikiLeaks.
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR